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Preliminary Roadmap for the United States Marine Corps Public Key Infrastructure

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Master's thesis

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Over the last decade, the Marine Corps has capitalized on the advantages of the Internet by increasingly using the NIPRNET for electronic operations and communications. The Marine Corps wants to further leverage the capabilities of the Internet by moving more applications to the NIPRNET, however, security threats have restricted the type of information that can be exchanged across public networks. The Internets open design enables message interception, monitoring and forgery therefore, the Marine Corps is reluctant to use the Internet for transmitting sensitive information. Public key cryptography is becoming the foundation for electronic operations that require security and authentication in open networks. The use of public key cryptography requires a Public Key Infrastructure PKI to publish and manage public key values. The objective of a PKI is to provide authentication, confidentiality, integrity and non-repudiation of data. In conjunction with DoD PKI development efforts, the Marine Corps will develop and implement PKI services to protected information currently exchanged across the Internet and to enable the use of automated applications. This thesis begins by describing public key cryptography, the requirements for a PKI, and the components necessary to operate a PKI. Next, a preliminary USMC PKI roadmap is developed, including objectives and strategies for Marine Corps implementation efforts. Supporting material describes design issues, such as scalability and interoperability, and technical challenges, such as directories, key escrow, and smart cards. Finally, change management approaches are discussed, emphasizing unique cultural and organizational requirements for mitigating resistance to a Marine Corps PKI implementation.

Subject Categories:

  • Computer Systems
  • Command, Control and Communications Systems

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